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Enoch Burke being led away by police, September 5, 2022.Video screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — A LifeSite petition calling on Irish authorities to release a Christian teacher soared past 13,500 signatures after a week since its launch. The petition started in reaction to the jailing of Enoch Burke after he refused to call a student by transgender pronouns.

In June, Burke confronted the school principal of Wilson’s Hospital in Multyfarnham, County Westmeath opposing his request “to address a transitioning student by the pronoun ‘they’ and by a different name.” The school then placed Burke on paid administrative leave in mid-August pending the results of a disciplinary process, but the teacher continued to attend the school.

Because of Burke’s continued attendance, the school subsequently obtained a court order barring Burke from entering the premises. He defied the court injunction that suspended his teacher’s duties and was arrested on September 5 for contempt of the order. For the past seven days, he has been held in Mountjoy prison.

Before his jailing, Burke justified his defiance of the court order before Judge Michael Quinn.

“I am here today because I said I would not call a boy a girl,” Burke said.

“Transgenderism is against my Christian belief. It is contrary to the scriptures, contrary to the ethos of the Church of Ireland and of my school,” he continued

“It is insanity that I will be led from this courtroom to a place of incarceration, but I will not give up my Christian beliefs.”

As reported by the Irish Times, Judge Quinn denied that his jailing had any connection to his religious beliefs, and the sentencing stemmed only from his contempt of the court order. Further, Rosemary Mallon, a lawyer for the school, doubled down and defended the judge’s decisions, saying that Burke was “clearly in contempt by continuing to attend the school after the injunction was obtained.” It is unknown for how long Burke will remain in jail.

Several conservative voices in Ireland reacted with criticism, including one from a Twitter user named @RealIrishCONS:

Deacon Nick Donnelly also posted a tweet in which he called on supporters to send messages and letters to the jailed teacher. He particularly highlighted that Ireland has “criminalized Genesis 1:27,” which is the scriptural verse confirming that God created male and female.

Strangely enough, criticism of the ruling also came from the opposing side such as the pro-transgender group Genospect.

Burke’s case is part of a gradual trend in Ireland that rejects the Catholic and Christian roots and embraces socialism. Joseph Gensens noted in a recent article that socialism in Ireland is “destroying property rights and family rights,” and he particularly mentioned the attack on family and parental rights in education by citing the Department of Education’s policies discouraging primary school teachers from naming students “boys and girls” and promoting transgender ideology.